Creditors and Probate
When navigating the probate process, handling the decedent’s debts is unavoidable. That means dealing with creditors, which can be difficult even without the grief that comes with the loss of a loved one.
While this process can be straightforward, sometimes, it gets complicated. That’s when you need a probate lawyer to help you navigate dealing with creditors during probate. Akers Law Premiere Probate Litigation is your Colorado Springs probate attorney. We can help you through the probate process, no matter how complex it becomes.
Creditors and Debt During Probate
Before the decedent’s assets can be distributed to beneficiaries, their debts must be paid to the appropriate creditors. If the decedent has minimal debt, this can be a simple process. However, if they have accumulated massive credit card debt, owe a significant amount in taxes, or have outstanding loans, fielding creditors can become stressful and complicated.
The decedent’s personal representative is responsible for contacting all creditors to notify them of the person’s death. That means publishing a Notice to Creditors each week for three weeks or more in local newspapers. The personal representative may need to publish this notice in more than one newspaper, especially if the probate is taking place in a different area from where the decedent lived.
Knowing what the decedent owes before you begin speaking with creditors can help organize their affairs—and the probate process. Consider these types of debt when it comes time to deal with creditors during probate:
- Mortgages, condo fees, and rent
- Property tax
- Federal and state taxes
- Credit card bills
- Loans (car, student, and other types)
- Outstanding utility bills
While the debts of the decedent vary from person to person, preparing these items can help you move forward with the probate process with better organization.
The personal representative must keep the probate case open for at least six months to one year. After that time, they must begin paying the creditors. However, before that happens, this representative should verify all creditor claims, as some may have unreliable information or illegitimate claims.
Even if this process appears simple, grief, a lack of necessary knowledge, and other responsibilities of the personal representative can make it stressful. That’s why you need Akers Law by your side to help you through it.
Why Do You Need a Probate Lawyer?
While some people choose to navigate probate and creditor payments on their own, hiring a probate lawyer can make the process more manageable. A Colorado Springs probate attorney like those at Akers Law understands the probate process and probate litigation, which means less hassle for you—and less room for mistakes.
Problems with creditors are common during probate. Even when you don’t face illegitimate claims, having a probate lawyer can help you organize the decedent’s assets and complete the probate process more quickly.
Probate lawyers can also help you resolve disputes with creditors, including:
- Disallowance of claims
- Payment priority
- Allowing claims after an expired time limit
- Responsibility of the personal representative for improperly handling claims
A probate lawyer can determine the accuracy of these disputes and help you resolve them. Making sure the right creditors get paid in the correct order, starting with estate administration costs, is part of the personal representative’s responsibility.
Hiring a probate lawyer also prevents missed deadlines and liability for you as executor. It saves you time, not only in handling routine probate affairs but by avoiding disputes and other potential problems from creditors.
A probate attorney can ensure nothing gets overlooked. While you may think you can handle all of the decedent’s affairs appropriately, it’s easy to forget to pay a creditor when you’re managing so many assets at once. A probate lawyer keeps that from happening and ensures all creditors are paid in a timely fashion and without mistakes.
Akers Law Can Help
Tammy W. Akers has practiced law since 1984. Akers Law specializes in probate litigation and probate law, which means we have the experience and expertise you need to navigate dealing with creditors during probate.
At our offices in Colorado Springs, we handle your case with compassion and competence. We’re committed to you, and we will be there to explain every step of the probate process as you navigate it. The probate process can be confusing, and our goal is to simplify it for you and your family.
We provide probate law services at a reasonable cost, and we do everything we can to handle your situation the way you deserve. Contact us today at 719-323-6421 to find out how we can help you deal with creditors during the probate process.